Should I Outsource PPC / Digital Advertising?

Are you spending too little on PPC and digital ads compared to your competitors? Or, are you wasting spend on ads that are being served to the wrong audience? Would you gain greater ROI by hiring an outsourced ad agency to manage your spend more effectively? 

As a digital agency that manages online advertising for businesses of every size and industry, we hear these questions often. This guide will answer common questions about digital advertising, help you set a budget, and understand outsourcing - the pros, cons and fees.

Digital Advertising 101

Let’s start by answering a few FAQs to help provide a solid understanding of how online digital advertising works.

Why AdvertisE Online

Digital advertising is one of the most powerful forms of advertising today. You are placing ads in front of people who are already searching for what you have to offer or who have shown interest in your product or service. Secondly, nearly everyone is online – including your competitors.

How Does Digital Advertising Work? 

In summary, you are bidding on keywords and phrases to get your advertisement to show up when your target audience searches specific terms. Or, you are placing digital ads on specific web pages, within online videos and on social media channels so your ads show up in front of your target audience. That’s why it is extremely important to do effective keyword research, to know your target audience’s online behaviors and to continually monitor and adjust ads for optimal ROI.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads (previously Google AdWords) is the advertising platform provided by Google to run text, video and display ads on Google and Google products, such as YouTube and Gmail. Most businesses include Google Ads in their advertising budget due to its massive reach; it’s the largest search engine in the world with over 92% of the search engine market.

What is Digital Ad Management? 

Ad management is the process of creating, managing and optimizing digital ads based on your campaign, keywords and budget to hit designated goals. Because managing digital ads can be complex and overwhelming, many companies hire a digital agency with expertise in ad management, especially Google advertising. A reputable digital agency will manage your campaigns and all keywords using various ad forms (search, display, video, retargeting, etc.) to get the best results for your spend.

What is PPC? 

PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, is the format in which ads are purchased. As the name implies, you pay for every click on your ad. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, allow advertisers to bid on keywords and compete against other advertisers for ad positions.

Watch Now👇




The 5 Most Powerful Forms of Digital Ads

Most companies use a variety of these five ad forms to get the best possible results for their spend.


Search Ads 

These are ads that appear when you search for something on Google or Bing. The search result will be marked with ‘Ad.’ As a business, you are placing ads based on what keywords your target audience is searching so you show up when they search.




Display Ads

These are banner ads you see on website pages. As a business, you are placing ads on websites your audiences regularly visits so that they see your product or service even when they are not searching for it




Remarketing/Retargeting Ads

These are display or social media ads that appear to audiences based on their previous actions. These ads may appear in multiple locations and at various times as they search the internet or scan their social media feeds. As a business, this means you are advertising to your existing customer base and prospects who have already visited your website and are following you on social media channels. Retargeting ads are highly efficient and effective as you are focusing on growth from your existing customer pool and most engaged prospects.

Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 7.15.04 PM


Are you a small business owner? Retargeting is the perfect strategy for you!

💡Related: How to Maximize Paid Media as a Small Business on a Small Budget


Social Media Ads

These are ads placed on social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. As a business, social media advertising is a great way to reach thousands of people at a fraction of the costs of traditional print, television or radio advertising. Also, social media advertising allows you to easily see the ROI (likes, shares, clicks) and opens the door to two-way communication with potential customers.




Social Media Ads

These are ads placed on social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. As a business, social media advertising is a great way to reach thousands of people at a fraction of the costs of traditional print, television or radio advertising. Also, social media advertising allows you to easily see the ROI (likes, shares, clicks) and opens the door to two-way communication with potential customers.



Setting a Campaign Budget

If you search online for how much to spend on digital advertising, you’ll likely get answers that vary from $250 a month to $100,000+ a year. In reality, there is no “correct” answer on how much to spend as it varies based on your business size and goals. 

An experienced digital ad agency will work with you to help set a campaign budget based on your current revenue, percent of annual revenue generated online, your revenue projections and goals, and trends in your industry. 

For several years now, digital advertising spend has outpaced traditional advertising spend as advertisers reroute their budgets to where people are -- online. 

Due to the pandemic driving more virtual interactions and online buying in 2020, online advertising grew even more than initially predicted, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau survey.

2020 Digital Advertising Spend Increases


paid search advertising spend


social media advertising spend

If your ad budget is being scaled back or you need to temporarily pause an ad, don’t completely turn off the campaign, as you will lose valuable data about your target audience. Instead, decrease the spend to $1 a day and then ramp it back up when you are ready. This is more cost-effective as you can immediately begin targeting the right audience.

Minimize Risk!  8 Items To Look For When Hiring a Digital Ad Agency [Checklist] 

Download Now


Outsourcing Pros & Cons

How do you decide if you should maintain your digital advertising in-house or outsource it? Let’s go through some of the top pros and cons to help determine what is best for your future.

The Cons

Risk.  Just like most any business decision, there is a level of risk involved. When outsourcing, you likely fear hiring a bad agency that doesn’t deliver the promised results. Start by taking time to vet and interview potential companies, like you would if you were hiring an employee.

It also may feel risky to “hand over” control of campaigns. One way to overcome this is to hire an agency that provides full transparency to your accounts, pricing and all reports. If you are denied access, that is a red flag.

They Don’t Understand My Business. You and your employees will always be more knowledgeable about your company than an outsider. Seek an agency that takes the time to fully understand your industry, company, company goals and strategies you are taking to achieve those goals. Be wary of an agency that immediately wants to spend your ad dollars without really understanding your business.

The Pros

Expertise. One of the primary benefits you gain when outsourcing to an agency is extensive knowledge in platforms, strategies and optimization tactics. Look for an agency that provides you with a dedicated account manager and a team of experts. You’ll have more hands on deck, and it is their full-time job to stay on top of advertising industry trends.

Better Tools, Analysis & Reporting. A good digital ad agency is analyzing results and optimizing campaigns daily. They have advanced reporting tools at their disposal and can execute campaigns efficiently for optimal ROI

Cost Savings. Many find that outsourcing PPC actually saves them money! A professional outsourced agency is monitoring and optimizing ads in real-time to generate the highest possible ROI. They cut wasteful spend, such as targeting the wrong audience, and avoid costly mistakes that you may encounter with a trial and error approach.

Faster Results. Time is money. If you or your team attempts to run digital ad campaigns on your own, it likely will take longer to get results as your team has other job duties at hand at the same time.

Boost Performance. With years of experience and expertise on their side, a professional agency knows what they are doing and how to do it efficiently and cost effectively. If you're struggling to show how your ad spend is generating leads or driving sales, then it’s likely time to outsource to a digital ad management agency.

Ad Management Fees

Digital ad management fees are the fees charged by an agency to set up your online account, create the ads, monitor performance and continually optimize the ads. 

Digital ads are dynamic, meaning they can be changed at any moment based on what’s working and not working. In comparison, most traditional ads, such as print, are static. Once they are out the door, it’s nearly impossible to make changes. 

Because digital ads are dynamic, this makes them both more profitable and more complex. This is why most companies hire an expert agency to manage their ads.

What Do These Agencies Typically Charge? 

For an agency to really drive revenue or lead generation, they should be managing your ad account weekly, if not daily. Therefore, you can expect the management fee to be comparable to your actual ad spend. For example, if you are spending $1,000 on Google ads, you can expect a management fee of around $750.

As your ad spend increases, the agency management fee likely will increase along with it as they are running more campaigns and tracking more keywords. The bottom line -- the more money you’re spending, the more time it will take to manage that spend for even higher ROI.

With that being said, the No. 1 expectation you should have for an ad management agency is open communication. They should be providing data reports that show return on investment and how they are adjusting ads based on the data and your feedback.

Is Now the Time to Hire an Ad Agency?

While digital advertising is highly effective, managing it can be complex, as ads should be monitored and improved for higher performance on an almost daily basis. In fact, most companies spend less when they hire a digital ad management agency vs. attempting to do it themselves because an agency reduces wasteful spend and gets them greater bang for their buck.

Start with an Account Audit

Get a fresh set of eyes on your campaigns, spend and ROI with a professional paid advertising audit. There are likely strategies and new options in PPC you may not even be aware of.

For the audits we conduct, we take a deep dive into what’s working and not working, along with providing recommendations on new campaigns or optimizing existing campaigns based on industry-specific trends, audiences, competitors and other valuable metrics.

An audit is a great place to start to uncover where opportunities exist.

As a final takeaway, the one thing all companies should stop doing is this: Stop throwing dollars at PPC and wondering if it’s working. Tracking the effectiveness and ROI of campaigns is the No. 1 step to consistently improving campaigns and hitting goals.

At Marketing Essentials, we are a full-service digital marketing agency and Google Certified Partner Agency. We can work with you at many different levels, from managing your full ad campaign strategy and implementation to providing expert oversight and recommendations.

With our ad management services, you get an expert account manager and custom ad campaigns. We work with you from account set-up to delivering ads that increase traffic, conversions, and revenue. You get full account transparency and detailed monthly reports showing ROI.


Start the Conversation

Request a Free Consult

Or call:


Patty Cisco,



Tyler Louth

Partner & COO